If there was ever a time to be thoughtful of both ourselves and others it is now. Virus, election, protests — the list is long and each can lead to stress, conflict and threats to life. A little thoughtfulness can go a long way whether it is a compliment, gift, phone call, text or just accepting our differences. Paying attention to when and how we speak up and when and how we decide it is best to keep quiet can certainly reflect being thoughtful of others, whether they realize it or not.
The better we know someone the greater the opportunity for a very special level of thoughtfulness. If I know you have been looking for a particular DVD for a while and I find it and give it to you that is beyond what others may even know you value. On the other hand, the unexpected often hits the heart the hardest. Many times, during a grief group meeting, I have heard a member say how touched they were to receive a note or card from someone they did not know well.
Don’t forget yourself. What can you do for yourself that shows special consideration? I hear stories about new things being tried along with long avoided projects finally making it to the forefront of activities. Pacing ourselves and rewarding ourselves and some thoughtful reflection of our needs and hopes helps us feel in charge at a time there is so much we can’t control.
Being thoughtful begins with being observant. Although I generally avoid referring to classes at Trinidad State, since I teach here, these are such trying times that I can’t help but mention the Human Services classes being offered this term. They are extremely relevant.
Human Services is all about people skills. The social issues class addresses understanding and possible ways to influence social issues or, at the very least, to show some understanding to those with views different from our own and to get along with them. The interviewing class focuses on how to communicate with each other in a variety of situations and with members of different populations.
What does this have to do with thoughtfulness? It is when we are thoughtful of each other than we are best able to communicate and actually hear and understand as well as be heard and understood. These classes help us learn to be observant of ourselves and those around us — to notice and to connect where we can and avoid conflict when we aren’t able to connect.
And, yes, I teach them both.
— Dr. Sue Nesbitt teaches Human Services classes at Trinidad State Junior College